Credentials vs. Achievement
A recent study published by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research has found that teacher credentials are unrelated to student achievement. This particular study has widespread implications, as often in public schooling salary and tenure is based upon certification, degrees, and years of experience in the classroom. The study examined data received by public elementary school teachers in Florida by looking at the relationship between training, experience, and learning gains.
According to Marcus Winters, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and co-author of the study, “We used the data to study the relationship between very detailed information about teachers’ credentials and the achievement of their students. Essentially, our data matched public school elementary students in Florida to their teachers over several years and measured whether a student’s performance improved when the student was assigned to a teacher with a particular set of credentials. For a subsample of teachers who were educated in a Florida public university, we were able to measure the relationship between the types of courses that the teachers took in college and the achievement of their students. The Florida data set is particularly rich in that it follows all test-taking students over a sustained period of time, matches students to individual teachers, and includes information on the number and type of college courses taken by teachers who graduated from a Florida public university.
As with most previous research, we found no relationship between a teacher’s earning a master’s degree, certification, or years of experience and the teacher’s classroom performance as measured by student test scores. Though we found that some pedagogy course work was related to teaching effectiveness, the magnitude of the effect was mild: even very detailed information about the teacher’s preparation in college told us very little about how effective that teacher would be in the classroom.”